News National Huge crowd gathers to farewell Bali Nine leader

Huge crowd gathers to farewell Bali Nine leader

The service in Castle Hill was expected to last three hours.
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A huge crowd gathered to farewell reformed drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran.

It’s estimated 1,200 people, including family, friends and well-wishers, packed into Sydney’s Dayspring Church in Castle Hill for the service.

Paintings by Sukumaran were placed on the stage and a video featuring photographs of Sukumaran with loved ones was played on a big screen.

The family of Sukumaran had invited the public to attend his funeral, which was expected to last three hours.

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A private cremation was to be held after the ceremony.

Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed along with six others by firing squad on the Indonesian prison island of Nusakambangan on Wednesday last week.

The two men spent nearly 10 years in detention on death row in Bali’s Kerobokan prison after they were found guilty of attempting to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin into Australia.

Yesterday, thousands turned out for the funeral of Chan, which was held at the Hillsong Church in Baulkham Hills.

The bodies of Chan and Sukumaran arrived back in Australia on Saturday, three days after the men were executed.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the executions were a “dark moment” in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, and responded by withdrawing the Australian ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson.

Since the executions, the Australian Federal Police has again faced criticism for not arresting the two drug smugglers before they left for Indonesia in 2005.

This week, AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin explained police did not have enough evidence to arrest the men in Australia and it was “operationally appropriate” to cooperate with Indonesia. Indonesia has staunchly defended the executions as a vital front of its “war” on drugs.